Life’s a Bitche for one town in north-east France that had its Facebook page shut down for offensive language.
Bitche in the Moselle, population 5,000 and home to the Bitchois, has fallen foul of the social network’s algorithm, which has deemed it insulting.
The town’s page was removed on 19 March without any apparent reason and has not been reinstated despite appeals to Facebook.
Instead, the local authority has created a new page called “Mairie 57230”, the town’s postcode.
“The town’s official page has been removed by Facebook. We have appealed, but for the moment it is still invisible. The appeal process can take several months, so we have created this page to continue communicating with you on social networks,” reads an explanatory post.
Valérie Degouy, a spokesperson for Bitche, told local radio: “I appealed on 19 March but [the page] hasn’t reappeared again. I have tried every way to contact Facebook, through the different forms, but there is nothing more to do. I tried to send a private message on the Facebook France page, I left about 10 messages every day. I was finally contacted and told that they were not in charge, that if I appealed, I would have to wait for a response from Facebook.
“I already had problems when I created the town’s Facebook page. I could not enter the word Bitche, it was impossible. I had to create a page that I had called Ville fortifiée, and change it afterwards, in the description, to say that it was the official page of the town of Bitche and point out at the same time, the user name was Ville de Bitche. At that time in 2016, it was allowed.”
She added: “I created a new page and called it Mairie 57230. I would have liked to call it Mairie de Bitche but the word doesn’t work. There is a logo of the city of Bitche which clearly shows that it is Bitche. The cover photo is the town hall.”